FCTA’s closure of 556 schools would create joblessness, dropouts- residents

As the FCT Administration commences indefinite closure of 556 illegal and substandard schools across the six area councils, the plight of thousands of students enrolled in the schools and teachers under their employ has been viewed with grave concerns. The noticeable absence of any known plan by FCT education authorities to absorb the affected teachers into public schools and the overwhelmed nature of public schools in Abuja, has forced a warning from residents who spoke to Ere-Ebi AGEDAH and Williams ABAH, that the policy could trigger job loss and large dropout of students. Excerpts:    
The closure of 556 illegal schools is a right step in the right direction. Over the years, individuals have ventured into educational business without proper knowledge of what it takes to establish a school.
Most of these private schools are established primarily for profit making. Some of the proprietors have no authentic, defined roadmap of what their product would look like at the end of the day.
With this regulatory action, FCT administration will sanitize the system and make all the school proprietors conform to the required standard.
Government always applies fire-brigade approach to all sensitive issues. What stopped the FCT Administration from monitoring and checkmating the operations of all these private schools before now?
For me, this action is not ideal. You can imagine how many people who will lose their jobs as a result of this mass closure of schools.
The regulation of schools should be a gradual and routine process such that the owner of those schools will are properly informed and given guidelines from ministry of education.
Yes, I agree that some private schools in FCT are in a very bad shape. However, government should also strive to complement those persons who are into educational business by way of giving them medium and long term loans to enable them manage the schools and pay their staff well.
As it is now, some of them cannot afford to employ the service of a qualified teacher. They instead, go for those they can afford to pay. In most cases those persons may not deliver the needed results. All these contribute to the poor standard in the private schools.
Our mentality towards private schools is such that we feel its the only avenue qualitative education can be imparted into our children.
Many parents and guardians prefer to enroll their children in private schools because government, over the years, has refused to pay adequate attention to public schools.
Government should be blamed for not setting a good standard for private schools proprietors to follow.
If you go to some of these government schools, you would be surprised to see the un-seriousness of some teachers towards their students.
Some teachers even abandon their duties for private businesses. Government schools can do better if facilities are put in place and discipline is restored to the teaching profession.
Private school owners operate illegally because of the decay in government-owned schools and governments inconsistency in regulating their operations.
As an educationalist, I am worried about the proliferation of private schools in Nigeria and Abuja to be specific. To start with, I disagree with the nomenclature of the category of schools to be shut down.
On FCTA's talk about shutting down illegal unregistered schools, I think the proper title should be substandard because there are others that are unregistered but standard in terms of facilities and staffing.
Over 500 schools in FCT to be shut down is unjust to me. The low income earners cannot afford the big schools in town that is what makes them patronize these schools.
It is an exercise in futility the FCTA should have a rethink on this decision.
In education, the foundation matters a great deal. For a child to compete with his contemporaries as he develops in life, he needs a solid foundation which can only be obtained from private schools.
I will say the FCTA is toeing a wrong path. The government does not have the ability to cater for the teaming population of education seekers.
I know of a public school in Zuba where the teacher sends the kids to sell snacks on her behalf after which they are told to sleep till the close of school.
This can only be found in a public school because they know that whether they work or not they will be paid at the end of the month.
It is however not a matter of public or private school but the quality of knowledge imparted on the children.
I think it is a good move because everyone deserves quality education. Parents still send their children to illegal schools because of lack of funds and the level of their exposure.
There is also the issue of proximity and level of education of the parents. But let me add that the FCTA needs to put measures in place to absorb these kids so that they do not end up at home.
We support the good move of the government to sanitise the education sector.


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